Despite its struggles, the events industry has donated its expertise and resources to the common cause. Now it needs recognition, says Caboose & Co Managing Director Tom Critchley


The events industry is fighting for its life right now. At Caboose & Co, we are uncertain if we can survive this economic downturn without government support. We may need help to get back
up on our feet once again, safeguard jobs and give us a fighting chance of survival.

Those of us in events are not on the frontline of fighting the virus, but there are many ways we can prove useful to those who are struggling. Our industry is bursting at the seams with grafters, problem solvers, forward thinkers and unlimited creativity, so there is no doubt in my mind that collectively we can be put to good use to make a positive impact.

The events industry often doesn’t get outside recognition for the skills and professionalism that are required to put on a show, so this is our time to remind the public how resourceful and adaptable we are. We’ve seen all kinds of innovative schemes, like Diana Findlay’s ‘People Powered’ initiative, co-ordinating the events industry’s skillsets where they’re needed the most. And we’ve also seen how adaptable companies in events can be, with Secret Cinema’s online film club and Burning Man going virtual.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen the monumental logistical challenges required to convert some of the UK’s largest venues and stadiums including ExCeL London, The O2, The NEC and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to name a few, into temporary NHS Nightingale hospitals. Who provided the skills to put these together?

“This is our time to remind the public how resourceful and adaptable we are.”

I bet event people were playing key roles behind the scenes. We can’t overshadow the heroic efforts of doctors, nurses, hospital cleaners, caterers, police, medics, ambulance drivers and everyone else involved in the medical response to Covid-19. But we should also highlight, at the right time, how our industry played our part and utilised our unique skills to support the country.

Caboose & Co, as part of a wider project led by Visions Group, has supplied 40 temporary rooms to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading to accommodate key NHS staff, which will operate for a minimum of six weeks at the temporary site. As a team, we’re proud to play our part in these exceptional times and help provide a convenient, comfy place for staff to rest after a physically and emotionally demanding shift.

There’s no denying that this will be an incredibly tough year for the events industry, but I think it is important not to lose hope or our usual positive outlook. We will come back swinging and the events will be bigger, better and more creative than ever.